Fifth-Ranked Fullerton Takes Seven-Game Win Streak to San Diego

Fifth-Ranked Fullerton Takes Seven-Game Win Streak to San Diego

#5 Cal State Fullerton (14-5) at San Diego (13-4)
San Diego, Calif. \\ Fowler Park
March 21st \\ Game 20
Series Coverage: Live Stream | Audio | Live Stats


Cal State Fullerton Notes | San DiegoBig West Notes


SAN DIEGO -- The Titans take their seven-game win streak to San Diego on Tuesday, as they'll take on the Toreros at 6 pm PT in what will be the first game of a season-long eight-game road swing. 



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Follow @BaseballTitans on Twitter for daily updates during the 2017 season. Fullerton baseball is also on Instagram, so make sure to follow the 2017 team all season @CSF_TitansBaseball.





CSF, RHP Joe Wills (2-0, 3.60 ERA) - at USD -Miles Sandum (1-1, 6.75 ERA)



To say this guy does it all offensively for Fullerton is an understatement. Bryant leads the team in average (.383), slugging percentage (.633), on base percentage (.507), runs scored (14), hits (23), RBI (14), Doubles (9), home runs (2), total bases (38), hit by pitches (3), games played (19), and games started (19). The junior has scored at least one run in 10 of the last 14 games, while he's also collected at least one hit in 15 of his last 18 contests. Five of those games have been recorded as multi-hit games.



Cal State Fullerton played its highest ranked team of the year last Wednesday, defeating No. 12 Arizona 4-0. The win over the national runners up was its highest ranked victory since defeating No. 6 Louisville on June 8, 2015 in Super Regional play.



The Titan pen has practically been unhittable this season. Titan relievers boast a 1.08 ERA, allowing just eight earned runs in 66.2 innings pitched this year, while racking up 52 strikeouts to only 17 walks on the season. Fullerton is 9-1 when leading after six innings, 11-1 leading after seven frames and 14-1 when leading after eight. The pen has collected four saves over Fullerton's last five contests. 



The Titans have won seven straight games and 12 of the last 14 contests overall. The seven-game win streak is Fullerton's longest since the Titans won 10 consecutive contests from May 15- June 6, 2015. The Titans have won seven straight home games and three consecutive road contests. The seven-game home win streak is the most since Fullerton won nine straight home games from April 1 – April 23, 2016. The three road wins in a row are the most since Fullerton also won three straight from May 14 -26, 2016. The Titans haven't won four consecutive road affairs since winning eight road contests in a row from May 1 – June 6, 2015.



The Titans have four shutout victories on the year thus far. They had four all of last year.



The Titan pitching staff is off to another great season. Here's how we stack up to the rest of the nation.


Category                                Nationally                  Conference

Double Plays (19)                               31st                 2nd

DP Per Game (1)                                35th                 2nd

ERA (2.05)                                         3rd                   1st

Fielding %(.981)                                 22nd                2nd

Hits allowed per nine (7.05)                18th                 1st

Shutouts (4)                                        9th                   1st

Strikeout-to-walk ratio (3.97)              6th                   1st

Triples (7)                                           39th                 1st

Triples per game (0.37)                       46th                 2nd

WHIP (1.00)                                      3rd                   1st

Walks allowed per nine (1.95) 2nd                  1st



RHP Colton Eastman and Ruben Cardenas is also day-to-day. Eastman is out with elbow pain, while Cardenas is suffering from a lower back injury.



John Gavin has been more than just good to start 2017. He currently boasts the lowest ERA and most wins over any Titan starter, owning a 3-0 record with a 1.65 ERA in 27.1 innings pitches this season. Gavin was named Big West Pitcher of the Week and the National Collegiate Baseball Writers Association's National Pitcher of the Week after pitching a career-high 8.0 innings against New Mexico on Sunday. In his eight innings, the San Jose, Calif. native allowed just two hits, zero earned runs, zero walks and struck out a career-high 14 batters. The 14 strikeouts were the most any Titan had accumulated since Thomas Eshelman also collected 14 on May 30, 2015 vs. Arizona State.



Hunter Cullen has found new life of late and is fully taking advantage of his time in right field due to the Ruben Cardenas injury. He had a career night in Fullerton's 13-4 throttling of Arizona State back on March 8, as he collected a career-best four hits in five at bats, while scoring two runs and recording a double. Even more impressive is what he accomplished a few days later on March 11 vs. Gonzaga. The Newport Beach, Calif. native saved the day and won the game for the Titans, as he blasted a two-run triple into the right field corner with Fullerton trailing 3-2 in the eighth inning. The hit eventually stood as the game-winner. Cullen went 3-of-3 from the plate that night, while that triple was the first his career. He also picked up a career-tying high two RBI and two hits in Fullerton's win over #12 Arizona. Cullen is batting 8-of-14 (.571) from the dish with two outs this season.



Sahid Valenzuela currently leads the team with a three-game hit streak. Taylor Bryant has the longest hit streak on the team, at one point stringing together 10 consecutive games with a hit. Timmy Richards currently has an on-base streak of 12 consecutive games, which is the longest of any Titan this season. Scott Hurst currently has an on-base streak of five games. Erik Cha has collected at least one strikeout in all five appearances this season.



The Titans are 11-1 when scoring first this season, 6-0 when scoring in the first inning, while they're 9-1 when leading after the sixth frame, 11-1 when leading after seven and 14-1 when leading after eight. They'll also 10-1 when holding their opponent to two runs or less.



The Titan pitching staff recorded a program record-low 2.22 ERA last season, and it's on its way to another special year, as the staff currently boats a 2.05 ERA. Fullerton has surrendered two runs or less on 11 separate occasions this season, including four of its last five contests. The Titans are 10-1 during that span. Fullerton's ERA is third lowest in the nation, while its strikeout-to-walkout ratio is sixth and its WHIP is third.



Blake Workman has certainly lived up to his last name as of late. He's come through with some big-time outings for the Titans, including earning a win on March 12th vs. Gonzaga to help Fullerton clinch the weekend series. He earned his first career save vs. New Mexico on Sunday, helping Fullerton clinch its seventh straight win and first series sweep of the season Workman is 2-0 with a 1.06 ERA in 17 innings pitched this season.



Chris Hudgins is one of 85 catchers to be named to the initial Johnny Bench Award Watch List. The award handed out to the best college catcher in the nation for the 2017 season. The watch list will be narrowed down to the semifinalists, whom will be announced on May 17. Ballots will be sent to the national voting panel at the end of May for a vote to determine the three finalists. The finalists will be announced on June 5, while a final vote among the national committee will occur during the College World Series. All finalists will be brought to Wichita and the winner will be announced the 20th Annual Greater Wichita Sports Banquet on June 29th.



Seabold tossed 7.0 innings of shutout baseball in Fullerton's opening night 1-0 victory over #23 Stanford last Thursday to earn him Big West Pitcher of the Week honors this week. He scattered five hits, struck out one and walked just five batters. It marks the third time in his career Seabold has claimed conference pitcher of the week honors.



The Titans may be 14-5 on the season, but that mark could easily be 17-2. Fullerton at one point owned a 6-0 lead over No. 23 Stanford through four innings, before falling 7-6 in 11 innings on Feb. 19. Not to mention, a costly dropped fly ball in centerfield led to Stanford tying things in the ninth and eventually winning in the 11th. Fullerton's second defeat of the season came vs. San Diego State on Feb. 22. The Titans held one-run leads on two separate occasions in the game. Fullerton committed a season-high four errors in the game and only lost by one run.The Titans also lost a one-run contest to Gonzaga on March 10…just saying.



What happens in Vegas doesn't necessarily stay in Vegas. Fullerton's 5-0 win on Feb. 26 over UNLV marked the Titans' first road shutout over an opponent since blanking Hawai'i 4-0 back on May 15, 2015. That's a stat the Titans get to take all the way back to Fullerton.



Fullerton's victory of UNLV on Feb. 26 marked Rick Vanderhook 200th win as Cal State Fullerton's head coach. Vanderhook is 205-107 in his sixth seasons as the skipper for the Titans. Here's to another 200 more coach. 



Cal State Fullerton head coach Rick Vanderhook has been named as an assistant coach on Team USA's Collegiate National Team coaching staff this summer. He's one of four assistants on the staff. 



The Titans have taken four straight three-game road series going back to last season. They're 1-0 in three-game road series this year, while they earned a split in Houston, in a rain-shortened two-game stint. The Titans are 5-2 on the road this season.



For the Titans, it'll be a good mix of returners and newcomers that should make up a team worthy of its top-10 preseason ranking. Fullerton welcomes back 21 letterwinners from a year ago, including four all-conference performers from 2016 in sophomore Colton Eastman (RHP), senior Timmy Richards (INF), junior Connor Seabold (RHP) and junior John Gavin (LHP). The Titans will also be under the leadership of four-time Big West Coach of the Year Rick Vanderhook, who enters his sixth season as head coach. The returners will be joined by a recruiting class that ranked 21st in the nation according to Collegiate Baseball, which includes six pitchers, four infielders, one outfielder and one catcher.  The Titans enter the 2017 season ranked in every national preseason poll, with Baseball America awarding Cal State Fullerton with the highest ranking of eighth. This is the Titans' highest placing in the poll since being ranked No. 1 in the 2014 preseason poll.



The Titans enter the sixth week of the 2017 campaign ranked in the top-25 of all six major preseason baseball polls. 


Baseball America: No. 5

Collegiate Baseball Newspaper: No. 6

USA TODAY Coaches Poll: No.10

NCBWA Poll: No. 9

Perfect Game: No. 9

D1Baseball: No. 6


CSF vs. San Diego  • ALL-TIME SERIES

First Year Played/Last Year Played:   1976/2016

Overall Record                                  55-12-2

Current Streak                                    Won 2

Overall Conference Record (SCBA)   20-3-1

NCAA Regional Record                     1-0      

Overall NCAA Postseason Record     1-0      

Home Record                          33-7-1            

Road Record                           19-5-1

Neutral Record                                    2-0

Longest Winning Streak                      16 games (4/7/87 to 3/2/97)

Longest Losing Streak            4 games (3/5/13 to 3/10/15)

Most Runs Scored in a Game             17 games, 2x (last on 4/9/91) 

Most Runs by Opponent                     11 runs, 2x (last on 4/4//81)

Largest Margin of Victory                  17 runs (4/9/91)

Largest Margin of Defeat                    5 runs, 2x, (last on 3/10/15)



Fullerton and San Diego will get together for the fourth straight season, but will the first the Titans are playing at USD since March 7, 2015. The Titans have lost three of the last four games in San Diego, but own a three-game win streak vs. ranked San Diego teams. San Diego is ranked in two of the six major polls this week.  



After claiming their 21st Big West Conference title a year ago and their sixth in the last seven years, the Titans are the favorites to do it again in 2017, as Cal State Fullerton has been picked as the team to beat in the Big West Conference, according to the nine league coaches that voted on the Big West baseball preseason poll. Fullerton received a total of 76 points and eight of nine first place votes in the poll, while Long Beach State and UC Santa Barbara tied for second, as each tallied 65 points. 


2017 Coaches Poll Results

1.  Cal State Fullerton (8) - 76

T2. Long Beach State - 65

T2. UC Santa Barbara - 65

4. Cal Poly - 55

5. UC Irvine (1) - 48

6. CSUN - 33

7. UC Riverside - 27

8. Hawai'i - 23

9. UC Davis - 13


( ) First-place vote



Overall, Cal State Fullerton has posted a dominant 745-261-1 (.741) conference record over 42 seasons. Rick Vanderhook, the school's fifth Div. I head coach, has compiled a 90-29 Big West Conference record in his five seasons and has led Fullerton to the conference crown in four of his five seasons at the helm. The four conference titles for Vanderhook is the second most in school history, only behind Augie Garrido (14). Overall, the Titans have won 29 conference titles.


A further breakdown has the Titans winning three PCAA conference championships (1975-76, 1987), eight straight SCBA titles (1977-84), and 18 while playing under the Big West name (1990-91, 94-95, 1997, 1999-2001, 2004-06, 2008, 2010-13, 2015-16). The Big West absorbed the PCAA records in 1990 upon its formation, giving the Titans 20 total Big West championships and a 569-215-1 (.725; 34 years) PCAA/Big West Conference record 



Cal State Fullerton held its annual Alumni Game back on Jan. 28th and it was the Alumni squad coming up with a 5-3 victory over the Titans. The win marked its first over the Titans since 2007, snapping what was an eight-game losing streak. However, the news isn't all bad for the Titans. The last time Fullerton dropped a contest to the Alumni, the team put together a magical season that ended up seeing the Titans in Omaha.



Cal State Fullerton earned a 4-3 victory over the NC Dinos on Tuesday night. The contest marked the third straight year the two sides had gotten together for an exhibition game. The Titans now own a 2-1 lead in the all-time series, as they defeated the Dinos 8-7 in 2015 and lost a 10-1 decision in 2016.



Fullerton has won 30-plus games in each of its 42 seasons at the Div. I level and is tied for third in the nation when it comes to most consecutive 30-win campaigns. The only Titan team to win as few as 30 games was the 1989 squad skippered by Larry Cochell. 

Consecutive 30+ win seasons (active)

1.  Arizona State  54

2.  Miami, Fla. 46

3.  Cal State Fullerton 42

3.  Clemson 42



Ten Titans on the current roster have been selected previously in the MLB First-Year Players draft. Newcomer Dillon Persinger has actually been selected twice, in 2015 by the Cleveland Indians (31st round) and in 2016 by the Los Angeles Dodgers. He decided to attend Cal State Fullerton instead.


Titans in the Draft (by round):

Tristan Hildebrandt     2014         16th round            St. Louis Cardinals

Connor Seabold          2014         19th round            Baltimore Orioles

Dillon Persinger          2014         17th round            Los Angeles Dodgers

Colton Eastman           2015         20th round            Minnesota Twins

Chris Hudgins             2014         35th round            New York Yankees

Ruben Cardenas          2015         37th round            Miami Marlins

John Gavin                  2014         39th round            Milwaukee Brewers

Timmy Richards          2013         40th round            Miami Marlins



The Titans have had 61 former players ascend to the major leagues since their first products, Dan Whitmer and Tim Wallach, got there in 1980. 



In 2017, the Titans will face five teams that qualified for the 2016 NCAA Tournament in Gonzaga, Arizona, New Mexico, Long Beach State and UC Santa Barbara. Both UCSB and Arizona advanced to the College World Series last year, while the Wildcats finished as the national runner-up in Omaha.



For the third time in the last four seasons, the Titans set a new program record for lowest earned run average in a single season last year. Fullerton posted a 2.22 ERA in 2016, leading the nation in the category and besting its previous school record (2.24) set in 2014. Prior to that, the 2013 Titans set the ERA record with a 2.47 mark. In 2016 the Titans surrendered just 132 earned runs, the second fewest in program history behind the 1975 squad that allowed 131 earned runs. The 2014 squad that previously held the ERA record allowed 136 earned runs, now ranked the third fewest in program history. Along with setting a new ERA record, the Titans pitching staff set new program bests in opponents' batting average (.212), fewest runs allowed (166) and fewest hits allowed (403) in a single season. 



All three weekend starters of an overall pitching staff that set records last season are back in 2017. All-Conference performers Colton Eastman, Connor Seabold and John Gavin are expected to hold down the weekend rotation once again this season. The three combined to win 17 games for the Titans in 2016.



Sophomore right-handed hurler Colton Eastman has earned a spot on USA Baseball's 55-player preseason Golden Spikes Award watch list. The Golden Spikes Award is given out to the top amateur baseball player in the country for the 2017 season. Last year as a freshman, Eastman proved why deserves to be on this list, as he compiled an 8-3 record to go along with a 2.24 ERA with a freshman school-record equaling 100 strikeouts in 100.2 innings pitched. He racked up numerous honors last season, as he was named a Baseball America Freshman All-American, Freshman All-American, NCBWA Freshman All-American, the Louisville Slugger Freshman Pitcher of the Year, Louisville Slugger All-American Third Team member, the Big West Freshman Pitcher of the Year and a member of the Big West All-Conference team.


In addition, he finished his freshman campaign ranked 23rd nationally in WHIP (0.97), 38th in strikeout-to-walk ratio (5.00), 41st in ERA, 49th in wins and 91st in walks allowed per nine innings (1.79). He also led the team in wins, strikeouts and games started.



Connor Seabold was named to the Big West All-Second Team a year ago after claiming two Big West Pitcher of the Week honors during the season and boasting an overall 7-6 record to go along with a 2.48 ERA and 96 strikeouts in 83.1 innings pitched. He's been named on Baseball America's Top-100 Prospects list coming into this season.



Titans head coach Rick Vanderhook collected his 1,100th win as a member of the Cal State Fullerton coaching staff on May 1 at UC Irvine, a 7-2 victory. He has recorded 1,118 victories in 26 seasons as a member of the Titans coaching staff. He was a part of 913 wins as an assistant coach with the Titans (1985-88, 1991-2007) and has recorded 203 victories in five seasons as head coach of the Titans. Overall, Vanderhook has posted a 1111-504-2 record as a member of the Titans coaching staff.



Cal State Fullerton will dedicate the 2017 season to Coben Swanson. Eight year old Coben Swanson of Yorba Linda, Calif., is on the road to recovery from a Nov. 2015 diagnosis of T-Cell Acute Lymphoblastic Leukemia (ALL), brain hemorrhage, craniectomy and cranioplasty. He is currently battling the side effects of chemotherapy and has been tested at Children's  Hospital of Orange County (CHOC) since his diagnosis. He is the son of Jon and Brittany Swanson, and big brother to sister, Saffryn (5). Through the help of Team IMPACT, the Titans have joined Coben in his fight against ALL and made him a permanent member of the Titan family. Throughout the 2017 season you'll see #TEAMCOBEN imprinted on the right side of the Titan batting helmets. Coben has part of his right skull removed last year to repair some damage as a part of his recovery.


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